The name “The Leaky Coffee Cup” was inspired by a conversation my former fellow employees and I had in the conference room before our morning meeting. Each of us seemed to be having trouble starting our day right, from difficult commutes to rude encounters and other miscellaneous problems. Coffee seemed like the communal answer to all of our problems. We had all gotten coffee from the cafe attached to our place of work. Each of us were fiddling with our lids and dabbing the tops of our paper travel cups with napkins. As we all discussed our morning woes an employee shouted “and these damn leaky coffee cups!”
For those of you who are as addicted to morning java as I am and run busy lives know the camaraderie of the leaky coffee cup. It is a part of our daily routine that becomes a distant problem until your day is not going quite right. It is then the breaking point from bad to terrible as hot coffee dribbles down your arm. I write this post with my leaky to-go cup beside me as I spill my personal tale of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
My Sunday had set me up for the Monday I was to have like a cosmic joke and I the butt of it. The day before I fell down my stairs jamming all ten of my toes into the wall. Thankfully, I walked away from my tumble with a few brush burns and swollen toes. My cat must have been in on the joke that was set in motion because he uncharacteristically decided to take his aggressions out on my arm.
I woke up Monday morning in a Judy Moody kind of tudey funk. I had a gnarly bandage on my leg right below my brush burned knee, my forearm looked as tho it had championed barbed wire and my toes were swollen oddly shaped grapes. Emerging from my bed like a champ I was ready to weather the figurative storm that surrounded me as well as the literal one outside. I felt childish with all of my scrapes, bruises, and bandages which may have guided my hands to pull my ponytail on top of my head. This was a classic Domonique look from the early pre-k/kindergarten years and I was ready to rock it as an adult. I put on a black sad sack posed as a dress and a matching pair of rain boots to meet my rainy Monday. I walked halfway to the book repair studio when my stomach growled at me that I had forgotten the food I had packed in my fridge. I lowered my head in defeat as I twirled 180 degrees to trudge back to my house. With an umbrella in one hand, two heavy books wrapped in plastic cradled in the other and a bag hanging from my shoulder I walked back on my swollen toes. I spilled half of my tools into a puddle as I searched for my keys at my front door. Yes folks, this was a Judy Blume kind of story I was in and I was the main character.
In my house I rearranged my priorities fitting my books into the bag with my tools to make room for a cup of caffeine. Take two. I started on my journey to work and saw the bus parked at the stop ahead. With my umbrella and my bags disheveled in my hands, my travel mug dribbling coffee down my arm, I ran toward the bus. Flat-footed avoiding my puffy toes that were now throbbing I almost reached the bus when it closed its doors and drove away. I lost all dignity and began to yell. I wasn’t quite yelling at the passive aggressive bus as much as I was yelling at the world. I won’t tell you the words that were flying past any filters I have in place, I will leave that to your imagination. I will tell you that like a fool, I continued to shout these words as I ran after the bus. The bus stopped at the next corner to pick someone up. This bus was mocking me. I was so close to catching up when the bus closed its doors again. It began to move then stopped. The world may not have been on my side that day, but the timing of the traffic lights were because the blaring red light begged the bus driver to show me mercy. I banged on the bus door.
When I got on the bus I thanked the driver for opening her doors and explained that I was having a bad day to which she replied,
“I don’t know why, it’s only rain.”
I hobbled on my throbbing toes to find a seat, put my head in my hands and cried. I didn’t mind that my mascara was now trailing down my cheeks, it just added to the theatrics of it all. After I gained some composure, I did what any grown up lady does when put in these kind of predicaments- I called my mom. Through small sobs I told her what had happened. At first my mom was sympathetic to my situation, but then began to laugh. This day was so ridiculous I laughed with her. Circumstances chose to add more comic relief by dropping my call periodically. This would prompt my mom to call me back with a quick summary of what she heard to inform me of where in my story the line cut out. So not only did I relay the story of my day but I had to repeat the parts I had thought I was telling her but in reality I was speaking into an inanimate phone.
When I finally got to work, I felt the shrug of rain brush off my shoulders. I was safely surrounded by boxes of books in various states of disrepair. I felt an unexpected reciprocation as I mended the book waiting for me on my bench. I reflected on my series of unfortunate events as I pared a leather bandage for this book’s broken spine. Like a Russian doll I enclosed the childish part of me that was pouting at her rainy Monday in the angsty teenage me, where I found a quote nestled in my 90’s gothic heart shaped box,
“It can’t rain all the time.”
I smiled to myself and then tucked this nesting shell away into the exterior that I now wear. I had pulled myself together and out of my own personal storm to be present as I performed surgery on objects that had seen much worse days than I was having. My leaky travel cup winked a drop of coffee that now welled in its lid to remind me of the obstacles I had triumphed to be there.
“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upward.” Vladimir Nabokov